CASTLEFORD coach Terry Matterson believes the best is yet to come from veteran forward Nick Fozzard (pictured) who is celebrating 18 seasons as a professional.
One of the few players from the pre-Super League era still going strong, Fozzard has performed a key role in the resurgence of the Tigers, who will go to Harlequins tomorrow seeking an eighth win from their opening nine matches.
The 33-year-old prop sat out the first three rounds after picking up a groin strain in pre-season training but has appeared in their last four games and his influence on the team has extended beyond his time on the field.
“Foz has been very good for us,” said Castleford coach Terry Matterson, who played against him when they were at Leeds and London Broncos respectively.
“I wasn’t too sure what I was getting to be honest but he’s been great around the place and he’s had a big effect on the team off the field.
“He’s a very likeable character, the boys love him.
“It’s helped him not having to play a lot of game time. We needed someone to bend the line for us and he’s capable of playing more game time but he hasn’t needed to. His best is yet to come for us.”
After starting out with Dewsbury amateur club Shaw Cross, Fozzard is back playing his rugby in west Yorkshire with a sixth professional club.
He signed for Leeds in July 1993, five days after his 16th birthday and had yet to turn 17 when he made his senior debut.
Fozzard spent the first two seasons of Super League at Headingley before moving to Huddersfield, where his career stalled through illness and injury which combined to rule him out of action for over a year.
However, a move to Warrington and then St Helens got him back on track and he played for Yorkshire in the Origin series before making his Great Britain debut against New Zealand in 2005.
He was a Challenge Cup winner with St Helens, where two stints were separated by a one-season spell at Hull KR.
Fozzard was not offered a new contract by Saints at the end of last season but their loss has been Castleford’s gain, with the grizzled forward enjoying a new lease of life back home in west Yorkshire.